Kai DePalma/Contributing Photographer

The annual Spring Fling returned as an in-person event on Saturday, April 30 for the first time since 2019. Many Binghamton University clubs and organizations crowded the Peace Quad and the Spine during the day, with the earlier half of the event also featuring carnival-like food, games and rides. The festival concluded with a nighttime concert featuring musical duo Social House and American rapper Gunna as the headliner.

Students flooded campus throughout the day for this highly anticipated event, as it was the first opportunity for many and the last chance for seniors to experience Spring Fling. Groups tabling at the event provided games, competitions and prizes. For example, there was cornhole, free merchandise and a chance to pie or egg a member of their organization in order to raise money for various fundraisers.

Katrina Chan, festivals chair of the Student Association Programming Board (SAPB) and a senior majoring in business administration, said the goal of this year’s Spring Fling was to end the semester with a bang, allowing students to relax and have fun before final exams.

“We tried our best to include something for everyone, whether that be going on rides, listening to various student bands or grabbing a bite at one of the food vendors,” Chan wrote in an email. “We wanted to make sure that there was always something to do throughout the event and with over a hundred different clubs and organizations tabling as well, the turnout was amazing and much more than we expected.”

The SAPB tries to bring new aspects to every event, according to Chan. For Spring Fling, the group wanted to make sure students were always presented with plenty of opportunities to participate in something they enjoy.

“We decided to expand on the number of food trucks and stands we’ve had in the past so that people can have more options throughout the day,” Chan wrote. “We also tried to ensure that all clubs and organizations tabling had an interactive activity for people to participate in when walking around the Spine and Peace Quad.”

It was also important to the SAPB that they incorporated art as well as diversity among their vendors.

“We also collaborated with the BU Art Museum to celebrate the activation of Miguel Luciano’s, ‘Pimp My Piragua,’ showcasing the innovations of Latino street vendors,” Chan wrote.

The Plasters, a student-formed band, opened for Social House and Gunna at the annual Spring Fling concert after winning the Battle of the Bands competition on March 31. Students flocked to the East Gym parking lot for a night of music, dancing and a fair share of moshing.

Olivia Le, SAPB concerts chair and a senior majoring in business administration, explained the process of choosing the artists to perform at this year’s concert.

“Gunna and Social House were chosen because they seemed to be the most popular amongst the students this year,” Le wrote in an email. “Especially with Gunna’s recent hit ‘pushin P’ and Social House’s classic song, ‘Magic In The Hamptons,’ [the SAPB] felt that they would put on the best show for students to enjoy!”

Social House performed some of their most popular songs, including “Magic In The Hamptons” and “boyfriend,” which excited the crowd.

Gunna arrived shortly after, hopping right out of a car with a microphone to perform some of his biggest hits, which included “pushin P,” “Drip Too Hard” and “too easy.” Students reacted with excitement to Gunna, and energy was high.

Although there were new additions to the event, Ruby Xiao, a senior majoring in accounting who was tabling for the Binghamton Association of Mixed Students (BAMS), said her experience was limited by the event’s overcrowding.

“It was frustrating that I was waiting in lines most of the time when I was not tabling for [BAMS],” Xiao wrote in an email. “I wasn’t able to go on any rides because I didn’t have enough time to interact with other clubs tabling, get food from the food trucks and go on rides…I think the University should’ve expanded the area where Spring Fling took place and invited more food trucks to come so students are not crowding around the few food trucks that were outside the Chenango Room.”

However, Xiao also felt that the event was a good opportunity for students to have fun after a stressful semester. She believed that the lack of in-person events for the past few years was a major factor in the large crowds at the festival.

“This in-person Spring Fling was much needed after two years of not having one,” Xiao wrote. “I believe that many people were sick of being quarantined and living in fear and anxiety during the pandemic, which contributed to the mass amount of people that showed up. As a senior, I was only able to experience one other Spring Fling which did not have the same turnout as this Spring Fling.”

According to Shira Geula, the SAPB vice concerts chair and a senior majoring in business administration, the choice to hold the concert in the East Gym parking lot was one made to accommodate comfort and space for attendees and performers. Geula believed the event worked out well.

“Changing the location was a risk that took months of planning in coordination with a lot of [BU] personnel to make it happen,” Geula wrote. “We knew that there would be a good turnout, but we did not imagine a crowd like what we saw [on Saturday].”